HONEY PIE by Verity Combe is a visually stunning 15-minute study of the nude portrait. It both examines and successfully presents ways in which women can take control of the ways others witness their bodies.
“An excellent example of female subjectivity in performance” Lois Weaver
“This is the most powerful presentation of the physical sensual that I’ve seen live. It’s very transcendent. You’ll get past that level of resistance within the first minute of the piece and I guarantee you’ll get to experience something in consciousness that’s very rare.” Mary Bluestocking
The performance begins with still and arresting very slight shifts in posture that sharply outline the proposal of the piece by instructing the viewer on how to look. An internal stillness throughout the visual display is essential in establishing a control over the viewers gaze. Each pose is sculptural and evokes an interesting dialogue between classical sculpture and contemporary body discourse.
Honey Pie foregrounds a powerful relationship with the performers own fleshiness, by converting the audience’s gaze into touch with a slapping action. The performers willingness to disclose herself for analysis and the strong turn of her gaze towards the audience interrogates the monstrous feminine within this classical context and explores self worth without being self-deprecating. The performance uses honey as a material that is both visually and textually pleasing and the simple aesthetic of white objects, flesh and flesh coloured honey give coherence to the piece. The climax of the piece is a solid wall of honey being poured down the back of the body. This, and the rain of honey from the hands is an exquisite moving image.
Verity Combe is a UK based performance artist and curator. Her practice is research based and process led, combining studio based research and movement exploration. Her work has been shown internationally at Summerhall, Edinburgh, Grace Exhibition Space, Brooklyn, The Marlborough Theatre, Brighton and Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna. She uses performance as a tool to identify with such issues as conflict, oppression, gender and empowerment. Utilising the body in its most natural and open state, she teams it with raw materials such as chalk, soil and honey. Critically she is aware of the potential of performance to break down cultural codes, and her work acts as a catalyst to opening up new possibilities within a given system. She has curated for several arts organisations, most recently, Exit Art in Manhattan, NY.